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Subject:Re: Graphics vs Text From:"Kathleen MacDowell" <kathleen -at- writefortheuser -dot- com> To:"Mark the Writer" <mdb-career -at- cox -dot- net> Date:Wed, 15 Aug 2007 13:48:48 -0500
Although in general, I'd find it hard to say one is better than the other,
I wonder if online topics might be a special case, in the following sense:
How much information can be conveyed in one figure or illustration or
diagram, vs how much can be conveyed in verbal steps? It seems as if one
might have to page through a large number of screens to get a
complete picture of heavily illustrated online content, whereas in one
screen of steps one could go over it until it was clear.
In writing about complex topics (hard copy), I add
illustrations/figures/screen shots/tables/graphs where I can in an effort to
break up the text and perhaps help out those who are more visually oriented.
In some situations, such as a quick start guide, I'd definitely opt for
heavy illustration, but in a more complete document, one can run into the
page count issue. That said, the department in my current job is moving to
as little and brief (dare I say robotic) documentation as they can, and in
some cases, increasing the number of illustrations.
But overall, illustrations (tables, etc) have the same catches as text--if
they aren't well thought out and organized, they don't offer much.
On 8/15/07, Mark the Writer <mdb-career -at- cox -dot- net> wrote:
> Same thing for anything I do.
> Have used a number of different deliverable formats.
> If the user can make a mistake - add in a graphic to prevent the user
> -----Original Message-----
> From: Fred Ridder [mailto:docudoc -at- hotmail -dot- com]
> Sent: Wednesday, August 15, 2007 11:03
> To: mdb-career -at- cox -dot- net
> Subject: RE: Graphics vs Text
> Umm, wasn't the OP specifically asking about onine help?
> Your reply seems to be oriented toward manuals.
> >From: "Mark the Writer" <mdb-career -at- cox -dot- net>
> >To: <techwr-l -at- lists -dot- techwr-l -dot- com>
> >CC: baj357 -at- gmail -dot- com
> >Subject: RE: Graphics vs Text
> >Date: Wed, 15 Aug 2007 10:59:43 -0700
> >RE - When to use graphics ?
> >I personally think graphics are only mandatory if there is more than a 30
> >percent chance
> >that someone could make a mistake.
> >For instance ...
> >Many software option windows have settings where a user is doomed if they
> >make a simple
> >So I enter in an example of a correct setting and throw in the screen
> >Preference ...
> >As far as charts and line art go - I like to include personally.
> >I am an engineer that writes for engineers usually - and we live on
> >Ask an engineer would they prefer the identical information in a block of
> >text or a graphic -
> >and they will ask for the graphic.
> >I typically give them both and use "as you can see in Figure 5, bla bla
> Kathleen MacDowell
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